Contrasted with the life of this day and age, we find Saieen Zahoor – a true representation of a Sufi musician. With worldwide recognition to his name, Saieen remains a paramount patron of the mysticism of the Sufi tradition today.
Born in a rural family in Okara, Sahiwal, Saieen Zahoor began singing at the age of 5. His primary understanding of the Sufi tradition came through his experience in Sufi shrines alongside the guidance of Ustaad Sain Raunka of Patiala in Sufi Kalaam. In this time, he found his love for the Kalaams by the saintly poets Baba Bulleh Shah and Mian Muhammad Buksh. And so began his journey of devotion to the mysticism of the region – the contributions of which have been for over five decades.
Saieen Zahoor released his first record called ‘Awazay’ in 2006 – following which he was awarded the ‘best BBC voice of the year 2006’ by the BBC World Music Awards. In 2007, a contemporary version of the Sufi song ‘Allah Hu’ was released in the soundtrack to the film ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ for which Saieen Zahoor received much acclaim. 2009 was the year he joined Coke Studio Season 2 delivering powerful performances in ‘Aik Alif’ – alongside Noori – and ‘Toomba’. In 2011, he contributed performances in the British comedy-drama film ‘West is West’. Saieen Zahoor has performed in concerts in the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, India, Canada and Norway.
In his experiences performing abroad, Saieen Zahoor is always amazed to find Pakistanis in most places that he goes to. In a way, when asked to perform abroad, he feels he is able to bring a bit of Pakistan with him especially for Pakistanis who are unable to come back to Pakistan. Being able to perform like this is what he feels a rewarding experience.
Although not literate, Saieen Zahoor expresses the lyrics of compositions in the form of drawings – a language he has developed for himself as a method of writing and reading the kalaams of the saintly poets. With his earthy tone of voice and powerful presence Saieen Zahoor rejoins Coke Studio this Season.